A Visit to Cold Stone Hold

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow


A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of buildings, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.

Stables and a smithy are settled on their own plots, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a fence can be seen to the north.

High noon has found Xanadu's meadows unusually calm during this part of the year. Crafters and riders have either slept in late or gone to their mid-day meal early, and very few now occupy this particular part of the Weyr. This is only encouraged by an impressive section of the area that appears to have been cordoned off with rope and sturdy wooden poles. The odd curious party will stop and stare, of course.

Inside of the rope's barrier, one of the larger brown dragons on the south continent rests comfortably, his rider leaning back against a crook in his hide. Her eyes scan the area cooly from under the brim of a hide riding cap, and the tails of her long, cold-weather riding gear snap fitfully in every breeze. But even with the brown's presence and the bags that are on the ground next to him, there's plenty of space left in that area. Perhaps someone else is expected…

Thea enters the meadow with a purposeful stride, her face set lips unsmiling this afternoon. She's dressed for riding, gloves and goggles swinging from one hand tap taps irritably against her thigh as she walks. Seryth ambles beside her, harnessed and ready, bundles and bags already lashed to her harness. She's muttering to the queen - or maybe it's to herself, "Yeah, I know, but he'll be just three beats away, he could come…" The roped area appears to be her destination and it is there that she stops, with a backwards look towards her weyr.

Moria is one of those 'someone elses', garbed warmly but in easy to remove layers. A carrysack is slung over one shoulder, and a notebook sticks out of one her beltpouch. Moria makes her way into the cordoned off area by simply ducking under the rope. She pauses just within, surveying the space, before approaching the brown dragon and his rider with a smile. "Hello. I'm Moriana, Glasscraft journeywoman and the reason for this trip. Thank you very much for helping us today," she says, voice rough but warm with cheer. The crafter glances around again, noting who else is arriving.

Tharen is late to arrive at the designated meeting place. He's dressed warmly enough as well, but given his tardiness in timing its likely that he was late on purpose. Seeing the gold and her rider leads only to a sigh as he trudges over to meet them. "You," is Thea's greeting.

The brownrider nods once to Thea with a bit of respect, even as her brown offers a quiet bugle of respect to gold Seryth, lowering its head a little. Only when Moria approaches and speaks does she speak in turn. "Good day to you then, Glasscrafter. I am Kherissni, companion of brown Malchisibeth. My Windleader told me that I'd be escorting five people to the High Reaches today…" One of her frosted blond eyebrows raises, and she slowly looks around the group. "I only see three of you. My paperwork said something about two healers coming along too, but no one's gone in or out of that infirmary for the last hour." Then, perhaps on an unspoken word from her brown, the rider's eyes turn towards the treeline, rather than the Weyr proper.

Anyone looking in that direction will only see the forest itself for a few moments. Then, between one gust of wind and another, two figures bleed into existence, emerging from the treeline at a swift, ground-eating trot. Both have large, runner's satchels strapped to their backs and two others slung low, and they move with the practiced ease of those who run often and know the ground they trod upon. Long hide coats and hide gloves cover their forms, deeply yoked hoods obscuring their faces. It's only a few minutes later that the taller of the two signals the other and their pace slows to a walk, their step in unison, and they stop at the edge of the rope's cordon.

The brownrider merely smiles. "I haven't seen that coat in sixteen turns, young man," Kherissni calls over. "It looks better on you than your master."

Thea nods amiably enough to the brownrider, lifting a hand to Moria as well, "Afternoon!" Her voice is relaxed, it's only her face that shows tension, something she's trying and failing to cover. Seryth crouches, patiently helpful while Thea begins re-checking her harness, a muttered argument with the gold continues, "He's too busy with training the wings for firestone, yeah I know, but…" Tharen's arrival has her blinking over her shoulder, "Yeah, me, what?" She eyes her brother, the beginnings of a smirky-smile pulls at her lips, "You can bring the girl, too, whoever she is, if you'll be missing her that much." The arrival of the healers is noted with a nod and a brief smile sent their way.

Moria waves to Thea and Seryth at the greeting, smiling at the pair, before answering Kherissni. "Journeyman Tenebrous and his apprentice are the healers we are waiting for. We're going to Cold Stone Hold to gather pillarwood," she explains. The byplay between Thea and Tharen is noted with a curious expression, but Moria doesn't comment. "I appreciate you and Malchisibeth taking the time to help us," she finishes, before looking toward the object of Kherissni's words.

Tharen makes at face at Thea's reply, sticking his tongue out in a very ungentlemanly fashion complete with an annoyed roll of his eyes. "Never said anything about a girl." So why should she, the statement seems to say. "Am still trying to figure out why you need me to go," he adds, sending a glance towards Moria as she mentions reason for going.

"I think you'll find that most things do," comes the quiet response from the taller of the two newcomers. It's a low voice, rough from disuse, almost gravelly. Then, face still hidden, Tenebrous turns his head to Moria and nods again. "Glasscrafter." He gestures to the smaller form at his side. "At some point or another, you may find yourself working alongside my apprentice, Phylicia, rather than myself. She is quite competant, and in the deep woods, her words are mine in my absence. I would strongly advise that they be heeded." Then he's turning that hooded gaze to Thea, Tharen and Seryth, offering a third nod. "Weyrwoman," he calls quietly. Tharen is inspected for a long moment before he murmurs, "Sir." He makes a curt gesture to Phylicia then, murmuring, "The brown?"

The smaller of the two merely nods before one hand reaches up to pull her hood back a little, revealing a youthful face. "I don't know how you see with this thing down so low all the time," she mutters to Tenebrous. "You could at least trip once in awhile to make me feel better." She does nod once at his mention of the dragon. "I'm used to browns," she affirms, and then quietly goes over to stand next to Malchisibeth and his rider.

Kherissni, for her part, merely smirks. The banter between Weyrwoman and the other man has her leaning into Phylicia and murmuring, "It's liable to be a quieter ride over here anyway."

Because that's what big sisters do to little pest brothers. Thea's hand pauses mid-jerk of Seryth's harness, as she gives Tharen a look of disbelief. Her voice has that trying-to-be patient exasperation in it, "Cos Da will eat me alive if ya don't come and Ma will cry?" Her eyeroll says it all. Brothers! Her hand jerks the harness hard, causing Seryth to whuff and swivel her head to peer at her rider. "Sorry," a mutter to the queen. Tharen, however gets a short, "Where's your stuff?" It's a brief glance spared for the others, but she's not in a chatty mood this morning, apparently, for she has nothing to add to their conversation. The riding strap is offered to her brother and a jerk of her thumb towards Seryth's back indicates where he should go.

Moria nods once to Tenebrous' words. "I'll appreciate any assistance you can give me. I don't spend much time out in the woods myself, not beyond casual strolls, so I'll do whatever's asked." She eyes the two dragons specutively before looking over to Kherissni. "I, uh…" Then her eyes move over to Seryth and her lifemate. "I've never…done this before. Who do I ride with?"

Tharen mutters all the more for the Junior Weyrwoman's reply. "Wouldn't you rather take the Weyrsecond?" he asks, taunting clear in his tone not to mention that grin he gives her before turning a glance towards the others. "Tharen," he supplies the name for the healers, stretching out a hand in greeting.

Tenebrous accepts the offered hand in one of his, fingers coiling around Tharen's hand in a brief shake. "Tharen," he murmurs. "Brother, is it? To the Weyrwoman." Beneath the hood, Tenebrous' eyes can be seen now, so close to Tharen's own, blue and unfocused. "Oh yes," he offers quietly. "In the…eyes." His hand slips out of the other's and he takes a step back. Eyes flicker over to Seryth, and for a moment, he simply stares into the gold's gaze. "Hello," he finally calls. Then he's turning away again and starting over towards the brown. "That," he calls to Moria, "is entirely up to the riders. Each has a seat open upon its back, and I'll go where you don't."

Phylicia and Kherissni are leaned in together by the brown, looking at the goings on around them. "He's not exactly…normal, is he?" the brownrider deadpans. The apprentice merely rolls her eyes. "You have no idea."

"Yes, I would but he-" Thea bites back the sharp retort, then grinning sheepishly at Tharen as she shoves at him with one hand and a sing-songed, "Can't always have what ya want." There's a mutter under her breath, "Though they -should- meet the weyrmate…" Ah! So there's a hint to the cause of her irritation this morning, at least in part. She blinks as Tharen introduces himself and she's hastily remembering manners. She speaks to the group in general, "Ah, sorry, sorry, yeah he's my brother, Tharen." She waves a hand at the group, "Tenebrous and Phylica, Healers and Moria glasscrafter… and, uh…Kherissni, brownrider." She nudges Tharen with her shoulder, "Mount up." Then she turns to Moria with a gracious, "We'd be honored to have you ride along with us."

Moria shakes her head at the siblings, then smiles to Phylicia at her response to Kherissani. When Thea invites her to ride with them she blushes and nods. "I'd be honored to ride with you, Thea," she answers before bowing to Seryth. "Thank you for bearing me, Seryth," she says respectfully, before approaching Thea and Tharen, looking up-up-up the dragon. "Ah, I've never ridden a dragon this big," she admits sheepishly, turning to Thea for guidance.

Tharen nods, "Yeah," he replies to Tenebrous' guess of his relation with the weyrwoman. A roll of his eyes traces back to Thea once that introduction is given, "Thanks." A second glance towards Seryth has him muttering something once again about having to go, but he's playing to his sister's whimes and awkwardly makes his way into place on the gold's neck. "Same as any other, just .. bigger." Thank you Captain Obvious.

Tenebrous observes the goings on between the siblings for another few moments and when Thea makes her selection, he merely nods, sliding over to stand next to Phylicia. "But if you try sometimes," he mumbles to himself, and then shakes his head. Silly nursery rhyme. As he approaches the apprentice healer, one hand slips into his coat, coming out with a length of heavy cord. He hands it to Phylicia, murmuring, "You'll ride in front of me." The apprentice looks between him and the cord for a momenet before taking it gingerly and offering a confused look. "The…dragon comes with harnesses, Tenebrous." To that, the Journeyman merely snorts. Deft fingers begin unclipping the running satchel attatched to his back and soon he's tethering it to Malchisibeth's dragon saddle with tight jerks and sturdy buckles. "It's not for the dragon," he calls to Phylicia quietly. Then, without another word, he's grabbing one of the flight straps and hauling himself up into the rear harness, movments deliberate and practiced. For a healer, he appears to know his way around a dragon. Legs secure, he leans down, offering a hand to the smaller healer, who merely rolls her eyes. "This isn't exactly my first dragonride," she says somewhat testily. Still, there's good humor in her voice, and with practiced movements of her own, she's soon atop the brown as well, buckling herself in. Then the two are leaning together, Phylicia turned as much as she can be in her rig, her hands moving in quiet, subtle, and largely unseen motions in front of Tenebrous.

Seryth, for her part is in a good mood and behaving, even if her rider isn't. The queen greets her passengers with a muted trill and a gentle whuff in their direction. Thea's lips curve, a bit reluctantly as Moria approaches, "Ah, well. They're a smooth ride?" Her smile grows, "It's the smaller ones, who'll give the more exciting ones." She coughs back a laugh, "I can promise landings that won't make you loose your lunch, at least." She turns, grabs the flight strap and hauls herself up to settle behind Tharen, giving the back of his head a casual swat, "I heard that," she mutters in his ear. She leans over to dangle the strap for Moria, "Just plant your feet against her and walk-pull yourself up, you can't hurt her." There's a bit of a concerned look towards Phylica and Tenebrous, but she says nothing.

Moria watches Tharen's awkward ascent with a slight frown, raising a brow as he reaches the top. "The green I have ridden was not so tall as to need more than a step on her arm to reach her back," she says drily. Thea's much smoother ascent and following instructions bring an understanding nod, and the glasscrafter grasps the strap carefully. "I imagine she would let me know if it did hurt," she murmurs, taking that first, awkward step that puts her at an angle to the ground, and slowly but steadily walking up the gold's side. "I have no worries about the flight itself, Thea," she says at a normal volume. "I trust any dragon to not lose their passengers."

Kherissni watches the gold and her riders, an amused look on her lips. "Like a bunch of Weyrlings," she chortles, and then offers a gusty sigh. "Shells, but I don't miss those days at all." She glances up into the eyes of her brown and then laughs a little louder. "You only had growing pains because you ate so much, you great garbage scow." But it's said with love, and soon she, too, is climbing up, settling herself into the lead harness. Once Thea is properly mounted, she calls, "I'll be on your wing until we make the jump, ma'am! Just say when, and we'll let these two sort out the details." She gestures to Seryth and Malchisibeth.

Phylicia finishes with whatever she's doing, keeping her voice low. "That should hold." Whatever that is. Then she smiles warmly. "You're a bad patient, a bad flyer, and lousy the morning after." She gives his forearm a squeeze. "And despite all of that, you're single." A quick smile is offered. "There's just no justice in the world, is there?" Then she's turning around and finishing the last few bits of her own flight prep.

Tenebrous' reply to all of this is a weak little breath of laughter and a lowering of his head. "None at all," he offers quietly. He takes a few deep breaths to steady himself before going still. A moment later, his hooded gaze shifts to Seryth again, and he sighs. "She never does." Whatever that means. The gold gets another nod before he's looking straight ahead again, trying to focus on that spot between Phylicia's shoulderblades…

Thea leans down, reaching for Moria's forearm as she nears; an offer to assist her swing astride onto Seryth. "I've seen it happen before." The cryptic words about losing a passenger are said as her eyes drift towards the brown dragon with unease. She clips her passengers into the harness, giving them a secondary tug to make sure all is secure. "Don't throw up on my dragon," she mutters into Tharen's ear with a smirk. That crouch of Seryth's becomes a trembled taut readiness as her wings lift and within moments she is leaping, wide wings straining in the downbeat to lift them aloft. It's just a few moments until the brown is in position, Seryth passes the visualization of Cold Stone Hold and they both wink out from Xanadu's skies.


Coldstone Hold Main Courtyard


The bones of Pern herself have been pulled from the bosom of the planet and now rest against her spine, stacked by man and beast to defend against an era not long enough gone. Built into the side of one of the many mountains in the region, Coldstone Hold stands as both a grim reminder and as a place of hope, proof of humanity's costly victory over the Thread menace.

High stone barriers serve as walls around the main hold, owing wood for a single gate alone at its main entrance. What buildings there are rise up out of the ground like the tips of great, stony fingers, structures built entirely of rock. Yet, despite the seemingly rough-hewn appearance, a more subtle artistry exists within the hold proper. Walls are arrow-straight in places and artfully curved in others. Cottages and small villas might all be mounds of boulder and pebble, yet each has its own distinct similarities. Over fifteen families live within the sheltering walls of Coldstone, their houses and other structures gathered around a larger, central keep that bears the standards of the Lord and Lady holders themselves.

Around you, the quiet hustle of a hold's daily life can be heard, and while the hold lacks some of the more modern touches seen in the south, its inhabitants do not seem to have noticed at all. The air is thick and crisp, laden with the smells of stone and earth, freshly baked bread and the sweat of beasts. Cold stone with a warm, beating heart.

The dragons enter the skies of Cold Stone Hold unannounced as there is no watch dragon at this remote hold. As the pair spiral down, there is some consternation amongst the folk below, but by the time they touch down, the Holder and his lady are there to welcome them, doing their best to appear unruffled. Thea unclips her passengers as Seryth crouches. "Promise I'll attend your funeral," she snickers into poor Tharen's ear just before she slides down.

Moria accepts the help from Thea to swing up, and keeps her hands out of the way as she is buckled in. A shrug of her should swings her carrysack into her lap, where she holds it tightly. Thea's cryptic words elicit a raise brow and questioning glance, but she holds her peace as Seryth launches into the sky and takes them :between:. When they emerge, Moria's eyes are shut tight and her arms clutch her carrysack to her with all her strength. She doesn't open her eyes until she feels Seryth angle to land, at which point she's squinting against the cut of the wind. When they land, she sighs softly in relief, showing her earlier words of confidence to have been only that - words. After fumbling for a few second, Moria releases her straps, and carefully lowers herself down Seryth's sides with the help of a strap. "Thank you, Seryth, for the safe trip," she says as her feet touch the ground.

Tharen can only scowl at his sister for that aside comment upon arrival. No, flight is not his favorite thing in the world and that much would have been easily recognizable from the moment of take off until the moment of landing. Once on the ground however he does slide down, quickly in fact, but he's careful to keep that golden hide between him and any from the hold.

The brown touches down, wings backbeating several times to make an otherwise rapid descent into something resembling a calm landing. Talons dig into the earth like the tips of ranseurs and a little warble of success escapes his maw. His head snakes around to glance at his rider, smugness in his eyes. "Yes, yes, you great heap of blood and organs," Kherissni admits, roughly patting his flank. "We'll get the healers unloaded and then go find you a nice rock to lay upon. Spending all winter without a good bask is no way to go, is it?" The brown whuffles his agreement wholeheartedly.

A few moments later, Phylicia is turning around, her hands working quickly. The flash of steel on the sun reveals a small blade in her hand and its purpose is seen a few moments later. She appears to be cutting bits of cord from around Tenebrous' wrists, murmuring quiet words of encouragement to the man. Bad flyer indeed. Apparently, no one's having a good time on this trip except for the brown and his rider.

Tenebrous lands on the ground a few moments later, knees shaking for several seconds. He rests his hand against the brown's flank, taking several deep breaths, and his palor beneath his hood is decidedly pale. "See to the running bags," he breaths, swallowing a moment later. "And then ask the hold staff about speaking with a gardener. There's no sense in trapsing out into those woods if someone is growing a patch of the stuff within easy reach." Phylicia looks like she might just protest for a moment, concern on her face, but then she just lifts a satchel to her own back, murmuring, "Yes, sir."

The brownrider waits for any introductions to be made before she's taking wing again, guiding her dragon off towards the mountains, and any patch of flat ground that Malchisibeth can stretch out on.

Thea shoves at Tharen, "Oh no you don't!" She hisses at him. She's not gonna drag him forward, but she's tempted by the look on her face. She approaches the Holder and his Lady, with something akin to reluctance, her gaze towards Holder Thadan is fleeting and uncertain before it slides off of his remote face towards Lady Rensea's expressive and obviously proud one. She stops an armslength away from the pair. "Xanadu's greetings to Cold Stone Hold. Hello Da. Hello, Ma." She turns gesturing to the group, makes introductions, then awaits their approach.

Thadan, nods without emotion, the traditional and proper response is rusty as he utters it, "Health to Xanadu and her queens." Rensea darts him a withering look and enfolds Thea in her arms. There's a moment of whispered remarks as mother and daughter embrace before the resonant tones of Thadan ring out, "Where's your brother?"

Moria raises a brow at Tharen's obvious reluctance to approach his family, asking softly, "What's with you? Why come if you don't want to be near them?" Without waiting for an answer, she moves around Seryth to greet the holders. "Holder Thadan, Lady Rensea, my name is Moriana, Glasscraft journeywoman posted to Xanadu Weyr," she introduces herself. "Thank you for allowing us to gather pillarwood from your land. The Glasscraft is willing to provide compensation for the materials, if you so desire."

Tharen cringes, that's what he does given Thea's comment but without her dragging him he's still keeping out of sight as best he can until he can see how her reunion goes. "Cause she made me," he comments in return to Moria, a nod in the direction of his sister to clarify. He cringes again at the holder's question, gives a tug to straighten his shirt which in the end doesn't really do anything, and after a deep breath, steps out and around to Thea's side. He hanging half a step back as he gives a nod in the direction of lord and lady. "Da," he greets, short on the words and most certainly cautious on the proceedings.

Tenebrous shrugs deeper into his coat, letting the sleeves fall low over his gloved hands, and hiding the angry skin on both wrists. "That needs to get easier really bad," he breaths before starting forward. Hood low, he simply waits behind the others, offering a quiet bow of his head when he's introduced. Phylicia does likewise, standing just to the left and behind her master. In what has become the afternoon's light, however, she has chosen to lift her hood, letting the wind play at slightly ruffled hair. The two of them share glances at the awkwardness of the situation, but otherwise remain still.

Thea has stepped to one side, a careful glance slides towards Thadan. "He's… helping with the bags." Her tone is neutral, deferential as she adds, "Xanadu is pleased with his work at the beasthold." Staunch support whether true or not, the pair may spar on their own territory, but here they are allies. She turns to include Moria, Tenebrous and Phylicia in her next words, "Welcome to my home." She catches sight of the healer's reddened wrists with a raised brow but doesn't comment.

"You." Thadan's hand lifts and his finger points straight at Tharen, his face unsmiling, "I'll talk to you later. In my office." He bows slightly to the others, "Welcome guests. You will stay with us in the main hold." Not asking, no choices given. Expecting no protest, he turns and retreats inside. Rensea, however moves to envelop Tharen in a hug of motherly delight, able to become teary now that Thadan is no longer present. "Don't ever disappear again! Ever." She's clinging, just what every teen boy deplores.

Moria shrugs as the holder turns away, and covers a smile at Rensea's behavior by turning toward Thea. "I take it you two don't come home very often?" she asks softly, glancing about the hold with curiosity. "Your family has done well here. It's a lovely hold." She begins shrugging off her outer jacket, as the warmer northern air penetrates her clothes. Her carrysack is set at her feet.

Tharen returns that icy look Thadan is sure to give him along with that command. The expression softens for Rensea though and however awkward the homecoming might before him he humors her with the hug, giving her back an awkward pat of assurance. "Ma," you can let go now.

Tenebrous makes a curt gesture to Phylicia. "Start in the kitchen as soon as they're gone," he murmurs, nodding to the retreating holder and his still present wife. "And stay away from the head cook. If anyone's gathering fresh plantlife, it's not going to be the man that runs the place most likely. Servants, understudies, any apprentice in bakingcraft." Phylicia merely nods. "I'll send Ciaron with any progress I make. Are we…staying out tonight?" Her eyes flicker to the hold's walls. "If there's a comfortable bed, feel free to steal it," Tenebrous murmurs with a half-smile. "Not everyone enjoys the dirt and her bedfellows as much as I do." Then Phylicia's moving off, her own footsteps nearly silent on the ground.

Thea's shedding her flight jacket in the summer heat, her voice is uneasy as she answers Moria, "Uh, actually… this is the first time I've been home in…" She has to think, "Nearly four turns? Since I left to go south for my da to make trading contacts." Yes, even after impressing a queen, there has been no visit home. She snickers at Tharen, "Ya owe her a few and then some, pest." Though gruff her tone at that jibe, there's affection in her eyes for her brother. The healers conversation earns a glance, but nothing more, although her manner is certainly less tense now that Thadan has left.

Rensea reluctantly gives Tharen his freedom, stepping back to give the group a watery smile, "Come. I'll show you to the guest rooms." She gives Tenebrous a bit of a lost, baffled look at his mention of dirt, then reaches a hand to snag Tharen's. "You need feeding up. You're skin and bones…" Thus chattering she leads the group into the hold proper.

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